Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Utah's Intermountain West

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2018: $24,999.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Utah State Univeristy
Region: Western
State: Utah
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Diane Alston
Utah State University

Information Products


  • Fruits: apples, cherries, peaches, plums
  • Additional Plants: ornamentals


  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop, youth education
  • Pest Management: biological control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, traps
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), native to eastern Asia, was first detected
    in the U.S. in Allentown, PA in 1996, and by 2010 populations increased significantly
    in the mid-Atlantic region. Multiple high value fruit and vegetable crops experienced
    extreme damage, stone fruit losses being particularly severe, many times sustaining
    100% crop loss (Hoebeke and Carter 2003, Leskey et al. 2012). Following range
    expansion and multiple introductions, BMSB was first found in Utah in Salt Lake City
    in 2012 (Gariepy et al. 2014, Haye et al. 2015, Dr. L. Spears, personal
    communication). BMSB adults are strong fliers, immature and adult life stages feed
    on over 100 plant species often resulting in economic damage, the insect is tolerant
    of many insecticides, and it is well adapted to overwintering in human structures
    (Wiman et al. 2015, Rice et al. 2014). All of these characteristics make BMSB a
    significant threat to U.S. agriculture, especially specialty crops like fruits and
    vegetables. Little research has addressed BMSB status and management in the high
    elevation, arid environments of the Intermountain West. I propose to conduct
    critical research and outreach education on BMSB through host plant use surveys,
    development of life stage degree models (for egg, nymph and adult activity),
    assessment of native and introduced biological controls through sentinel egg mass
    deployment and field surveys, grower and public presentations on study findings,
    and publication of results in an extension factsheet, news articles, and pest
    advisories. In 2017, BMSB economic crop damage was reported for the first time in
    Utah on peach, apple, squash, and corn. My project will provide valuable insight for
    better understanding and managing BMSB in the urban-agricultural landscapes of
    northern Utah. I will help train the public sector on prevention, monitoring, and
    management of BMSB. I will coordinate my outreach education efforts with the USU
    Extension Invasive Pest Program.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Host Plant Surveys (2018-2019)
    Purpose: Host plant surveys will be conducted May through October of 2018 and 2019 to
    determine BMSB plant use for spring emergence/acclimation, feeding (adult and nymph
    stages), and reproduction. Surveys will be in suburban and rural locations of the Wasatch
    Front. Surveys in 2017 were focused in suburban areas near human structures that
    support overwintering. These results showed that BMSB is expanding into the suburbanagricultural/rural
    a. Host plant surveys of residential areas will be conducted in Provo, Salt Lake City,
    Kaysville, Layton, Roy, and Ogden for 2018 (surveys were conducted in similar
    locations in 2017) to compile a list of common plants associated with BMSB.
    b. In 2019, host plant survey sites will be positioned next to commercial farms and
    community gardens producing fruits and vegetables. The results from these
    surveys will expand the Utah host plant list to include agriculturally significant
    plants, especially those in close proximity to residential neighborhoods.
    c. With the assistance of several undergraduate student research technicians, I will
    document which BMSB developmental life stages (egg, nymph, adult) are
    present, and an estimate of their abundance.
    2. Phenology (2018-2019)
    Purpose: A seasonal timeline of BMSB development in Utah is imperative to empower
    producers to manage BMSB. I intend to employ traps and host plant surveys described in
    Objective 1 to characterize BMSB phenology in northern Utah.
    a. Seasonal development of BMSB will be documented from late April to October in
    both 2018 and 2019. Host plant surveys and trap deployment at each of the survey
    sites will support observation of life stage occurrences and population abundance
    patterns during the growing season.
    *Reference figures and tables can be found in addenda document 5
    b. Based on observed phenological activity and temperature, a BMSB degree-day
    model will be developed for Utah. With this information, growers and the private
    sector will be able to better anticipate optimal timings in the BMSB seasonal
    cycle to interrupt population growth.
    c. It has been speculated that BMSB is univoltine (one generation per season) in
    Utah, but one year of data collection in 2017 indicated that a small second adult
    generation may occur in the late fall (Fig. 7-8). During 2018 surveys, a subset of
    first generation adults will be marked and confined on host plants with mesh
    netting; their progeny will be marked to determine if a second adult generation is
    produced before the onset of winter.
    3. Biological Control (2018-2019)
    Purpose: My focus for this objective is to discover natural enemies of BMSB present in
    Utah. Parasitoid wasps are of specific interest, along with documentation of generalist
    predators and microsporidia (Nosema spp.) in the gut of wild caught BMSB. It is
    important that growers in Utah gain a better understanding of the potential for natural
    control, and which organisms contribute the most to BMSB population suppression.
    a. In the spring/summer of each 2018 and 2019 season, I will survey for parasitoid
    wasps that specifically target BMSB eggs. Sentinel egg mass deployments
    (BMSB egg masses reared in a lab colony that are deployed on host plants and
    collected 2-3 days later) will survey for parasitoid wasps in suburban and
    rural/agricultural environments, and determine if native (or introduced) wasps can
    successfully kill and parasitize BMSB eggs.
    b. Preliminary sentinel egg mass deployments in 2017 found several native egg
    parasitoids. Parasitoid surveys in 2018 and 2019 will target native and exotic
    wasps, such as the samurai wasp (Trissolcus japonicus), which can provide high
    egg parasitism rates in the native range of BMSB and in laboratory studies (and
    has now been detected in 9 U.S. states).
    c. Generalist insect predators (e.g. praying mantis, assassin bugs, robber flies,
    spiders, etc.) will be documented as observed in host plant surveys and sentinel
    egg mass assessments.
    d. Microsporidia have been identified as a potential population control agent of
    BMSB in the eastern U.S. Microsporidia live in the intestinal tract of BMSB.
    Wild caught BMSB will be dissected in the lab and evaluated for the presence of
    microsporidia (Nosema spp.) spores.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.